If you would like to donate to the Research fund please click on the Donate button below. Or to donate to the fund via check, please make payable to ITMIG Research Fund and mail to:ITMIG
c/o Pam Bruce
6 Cold Spring Court
Mount Kisco, NY 10549 USA
The fund was initiated because Richard has been fighting thymoma for eight years. They wanted to give something back to the medical community that has cared for Richard and would like to promote research into this rare disease.
The International Thymic Malignancies Interest Group (ITMIG) is a unique organization dedicated to bringing together physicians, researchers and patients with a focus on improving outcomes for patients living with thymoma or thymic carcinoma. The group has created a global network towards this goal. One of the first major accomplishments was the creation of a database with information from over 6000 patients with these very rare diseases.
Now we are working to ask questions of the database to better understand thymic malignancies, including looking at whether radiation given after surgery can improve cure rates after surgery, how frequently patients develop immune complications from the disease, and other critical questions that until now could not be properly addressed because of a lack of a comprehensive database of this nature. We are also focusing research efforts on looking at novel drugs for thymic malignancies. Because of the rarity of the disease, clinical trial progress has been slow. Though studies from single institutions and some cooperative groups have given us knowledge about the activity of some agents, it has been nearly impossible to conduct randomized trials.
Through ITMIG we are working to get larger clinical trials up and running. We are also capable of forming smaller networks of ITMIG member institutions to look at novel drugs. At our last ITMIG annual meeting we were approached by a small pharmaceutical company with an interest in conducting a trial in thymoma and will open a study in 2014 with ITMIG member groups. We are in active discussions with other pharmaceutical companies as well, especially in regards to novel immune targeted agents.
Our vision is to be a catalyst for increased research in this area and to provide a network for clinical trial conduct. We aim to encourage more investigators to work not only in clinical research but also at the basic science level to better understand thymic malignancies. We are in the midst of developing a project to do comprehensive mutational analysis on a large number of thymomas and thymic carcinomas to better understand the molecular underpinnings of this project. Such studies have led to paradigm shifts in the treatment of other solid tumors such as lung cancer.
The future vision of ITMIG is to have a pool of money that is competitively awarded to the best projects to advance thymoma and thymic carcinoma research. The ITMIG research fund is designed to move these projects along. Initially the resources will 1) fund the database analysis, 2) help with the coordination of the extensive molecular analysis project and 3) as possible provide some support for the initial clinical trials (all the clinical trials will be formally “housed” at a primary institution or cooperative group, but the mechanisms to bring in other institutions to a investigator initiated trial in a rare disease are costly and this fund will potentially help to offset those costs).
As the fund grows into the future the vision is to have competitive award(s) to fund projects by ITMIG members judged to have the greatest potential to move the field forward. At this time there are no foundations or organizations with such research grant opportunities for thymic malignancies, though they abound for more common cancers and have led to significant breakthroughs.